How to leverage technology in commercial property management

There’s no ignoring that technology is changing the way we live and do business. Commercial property management companies, however, have been slower on the uptake to take advantage of technology to make their jobs easier.

However, we’re talking about more than just Excel spreadsheets and email inboxes. With the signing of Bill 106, the Protecting Condominium Owners Act, the future of residential property management is going to have more of a focus on electronic notifications, emails, and websites than ever before. In commercial property management, however, it’s up to each individual manager (for the most part) to determine the best way to run their building.

Whether you’re managing retail space in shopping malls or offices in corporate business parks, you’ll want to pay attention to some of the technology trends and solutions that are going to shake up your profession.

Communication Methods are Changing


Your residents no longer want to be notified of building updates or changes via notices in the lobby. E-blasts, texts, and software options that allows your residents to interact with you from their cell phone means constant communication — and a quicker method of an emergency contact.

Your website not only affects your reputation, displays your personal and company values, but can also keep track of all your current listings. When you have vacant space, it can cost you upwards of $5,000 a month, but with analytics gathered from your website visits, as well as the frequency of advertisement views, you’ll be able to target potential residents when they’re actually looking. Rising above the noise that is renting commercial space in Toronto (as of writing, there were currently 3068 units for rent in Toronto alone) means that you’re out in front of new residents before you’ve lost months of potential rent.

Your website can also establish an automated ticketing system, whereas residents can describe their issue in full, and you can then easily assign the issue to the proper department — whether it’s maintenance or ordering.

resident Screening

One of the biggest technologies to take our industry by storm is automated resident screening. There are scoring engines that can check everything — police, credit, rental history, evictions — and return a pass/fail result in just seconds. Some of these programs will even assign a value risk to these potential clients, whereas you can suggest a less expensive unit, or upsell them based on their credit report suggestions.

The reality, however, is that most landlords or property manager’s don’t actually conduct thorough background checks — putting not only the unit, but the entire property at risk. Recent research states that 23% don’t conduct credit checks, and a whopping 66% don’t conduct sex offender registry checks. Security of your property starts with who you rent to, and if you’re trying to keep a harmonious, profitable, and safe space for all of your residents — you need to do a thorough check.

Market Research & Market intelligence

Commercial property management once just meant asking your current residents what they liked or didn’t like about the property, and comparing your prices against the building down the street.

Today, in order to remain competitive, you have to consistently conduct market research initiatives surrounding smart development, acquisition choices, operations strategies, and disposition strategies that are favoured by residents and the neighbourhood at large. The technology to do this exists, and makes it easier than ever to sort through mass amounts of data — data that would have traditionally taken you months to organize. While there are numerous resources out there, from sites such as Valuation Resources that will give you a general idea of market trends, you really need to dig deep into your building and community for better insight.

Conducting a thorough market analysis allows you to plan for rent tiers, building upgrades, and create a marketing plan if needed. The importance of understanding the near future based on your past shouldn’t be overlooked.

Revenue Management Software

While your market research may have included information on market conditions, there are a number of software programs out there that can automatically suggest rental prices for numerous units based on its geographical research and current (and forecasted) market conditions.

There are also numerous programs that collect financial and performance data, balances your books for you, and establishes purchasing and inventory controls to ensure that you’re regularly on top the needs of your properties.

Software programs are regularly rolled out that are geared towards making your life easier. Hiding your head in the sand and ignoring them won’t move your business forward, and won’t make you a successful property manager. Figure out where you or your team’s weaknesses lie and seek out a software program that can turn those weaknesses into strengths.

Remote Security Controls

One of the greatest technologies that property managers can take advantage of is the ability to remotely view what’s going on at their property. Whether you’ve opted for on-site patrol staff, or have installed a system of perimeter and interior cameras, being able to access these feeds from wherever you offer peace of mind. Not only for you, but your residents can also breathe easier knowing that their unit is being monitored closely to prevent theft, for early fire detection, and to ensure only the most secure access.

The core values in commercial property management are being ahead of your competition, offering a properly maintained and safe location, and ensuring that you have an adequate plan for the future. With all of these factors taken care of through advanced technology that helps you be a better property manager, you can rest easy.

If you’ve been struggling to adopt new technology, or simply aren’t aware of what’s available, get in touch with us at ICC®. With over 25+ years of commercial and residential property management under our belt, we know that the future requires consistently keeping up with technology. Our property managers can ensure that you’re building is maintained and operated with the best systems in place to bring in new residents and keep the old ones happy.

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